A view of Dayton — ‘through the eyes of a dog’ — lifts spirits during the pandemic

A photo essay with history lessons – from a dog’s perspective – is keeping spirits up during the coronavirus pandemic.

Each day, Jim Garvey, a life-long Dayton resident who recently moved downtown, takes his miniature poodle, Pluto, on a tour of the Gem City.

Garvey snaps pictures of the 13-year-old dog with local landmarks and posts the photos with tidbits of Dayton history on his Facebook page.

“It’s a stressful time for people and this lightens the mood up a little bit,” Garvey said.

Pluto has struck a pose at dozens of downtown sites: next to two bowler hats on the Wright brothers bench at the Engineers Club, on the steps of the Old Courthouse and in front of colorful downtown murals.

Garvey’s friends say they are living vicariously through Pluto’s walks and enjoy learning the history and seeing the architecture of the city.

One of Pluto’s many fans, Leslie Loper of Kettering, said she looks forward to the daily posts about Pluto’s adventures.

“It started out being entertaining and it morphed into something else,” Loper said. “It’s turned into a history lesson and promotion of the city through the eyes of a dog.”

Pluto has taken a seat on Dayton inventions like the large-scale sculptures of “Ritty’s Incorruptible Cashier” and the pop-top can near RiverScape.

He’s stood on the steps of the Dayton Bicycle Club, a building erected in 1850 for Edwin Smith, a doctor and the first president of the Montgomery County Medical Society.

And he’s been pictured dwarfed under a mural of a vintage postcard reading “Greetings From Dayton” on the Stratacache Tower.

“It helps us cope and gives us something to look forward to twice a day,” Loper said. “We’re going to get an adventure and we know something good is coming.”

Pluto sometimes appears to have a quizzical expression adding humor to the photos. “He’s never off a leash and he doesn’t know what to do so he just stands there,” Garvey said.

Garvey credits his excursions with Pluto for getting him out and about in the community during the pandemic and connecting with friends and family.

He said the joy the daily photographs have brought to his friends and to himself have helped create a feeling of normalcy during the pandemic – “as normal as possible as you can be today.”

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